Supporting young people living with cancer to tell their stories in ways that make them stronger: The Beads of Life approach

Clin Child Psychol Psychiatry. 2016 Apr;21(2):255-67. doi: 10.1177/1359104515586467. Epub 2015 May 25.


This article describes the 'Beads of Life' approach--a five-part methodology informed by narrative therapy to enable children and young people to make sense of their cancer journey in ways that make them stronger. Young people are invited to use beads as prompts to tell preferred stories of their identity to create a safe place to stand from which to story their cancer journey. The approach positions young people as experts in their lives. It aims to change their relationship with cancer to reduce its negative impact on life by lessening isolation. By enabling medical staff to get to know the young person apart from the cancer, this approach aims to create hope for the future and improve quality of care.

Keywords: Adolescents; cancer; children and young people; narrative therapy; trauma; tree of life; young people with cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Narrative Therapy / methods*
  • Neoplasms / psychology*